Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle) is natural herb ingredient of LiverPro™
Silybum marianum (milk thistle) is a plant of the Asteraceae family. This fairly typical thistle has red to purple flowers and shiny pale green leaves with white veins. Originally a native of Southern Europe through to Asia, it is now found throughout the world. The medicinal parts of the plant are the ripe seeds.
Common names for this species include blessed milk thistle, Marian Thistle, Mary Thistle, Mediterranean Milk Thistle and Variegated Thistle. Trade or commercial names under which this herb is sold include Silymarin, Milk Thistle Extract, Milk Thistle Super Complex, Milk Thistle Phytosome, Alcohol Free Milk Thistle Seed, Milk Thistle Plus, Silymarin Milk Thistle, Milk Thistle Power, Time Release Milk Thistle Power, and Thisilyn Standardized Milk Thistle Extract
In herbalism, it is used in cases of liver diseases (cirrhosis, jaundice and hepatitis), gallbladder disease, and is claimed to protect the liver against poisons. A 2000 study of such claims by the
Activity against liver cancers
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) concluded that "clinical efficacy of milk thistle is not clearly established". However a more recent study did show activity against liver cancers. A 2005 Cochrane Review considered thirteen randomised clinical trials which assessed milk thistle in 915 patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases. They question the beneficial effects of milk thistle for patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases and highlight the lack of high-quality evidence to support this intervention. Cochrane concluded more good quality randomised clinical trials on milk thistle versus placebo are needed.
Its potent extract is used in medicine under the name silymarin. Another extract, silibin or a derivative, is used against poisoning by amanitas, such as the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) and the Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria).
Silybum marianum (milk thistle) is natural herb ingredient of LiverPro™